Rep. Henry Cuellar, the last pro-life Democrat in the House, appears to have won a narrow victory Tuesday against his pro-abortion challenger in the Texas primary election.
According to the latest election results, Cuellar beat abortion industry-backed candidate Jessica Cisneros by less than 200 votes. The Texas Tribune reports a recount appears likely, but Cuellar declared victory late Tuesday and expressed confidence in his win.
“Tonight, the 28th Congressional District spoke and we witnessed our great Democratic system at work,” Cuellar said in his victory statement. “This primary was a hard-fought battle.”
He thanked his constituents for giving him the opportunity to serve in Congress again and promised to represent South Texans’ values.
However, Cisneros refused to concede early Wednesday morning, writing on Twitter: “This election is still too close to call, and we are still waiting for every ballot and eligible vote to be counted. This fight isn’t over.”
Cuellar is the last pro-life Democrat in the U.S. House. In September, he was the only Democrat who voted against a radical pro-abortion bill that would force states to legalize abortions for basically any reason up to birth even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Cuellar also supports the Hyde Amendment, which bans taxpayer funding for elective abortions in Medicaid and other federal programs.
His opponent, Cisneros, supports the pro-abortion bill and wants to force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions.
Speaking to reporters after the election, Cuellar said the Democratic Party has “gone a little bit to the left in many ways” and he will “stay true to my principles,” according to the Tribune.
Here’s more from the report:
As for the impact of the Roe v. Wade news, Cuellar said abortion is an “important issue” but that other issues matter in his district, like border security and oil and gas.
“They thought that they were gonna win on one issue,” Cuellar said. “This district is not a one-issue district.”
Pro-abortion groups spent massive amounts of money to support Cuellar’s pro-abortion opponent, but Cisneros’s radical pro-abortion views apparently did not resonate with voters in the moderate district. According to the Texas Observer, Cisneros’s campaign received about $3 million from outside political PACs, including the pro-abortion group Emily’s List.
If the election results are confirmed, this would be Cuellar’s third defeat of Cisneros. The Democrat candidate will face pro-life Republican Cassy Garcia in the November general election
Political groups have been watching the primary race closely, wondering if the U.S. Supreme Court leak on abortion will motivate more pro-abortion voters to head to the polls, Politico reported earlier this week.
Abortion was a central focus of Cisneros’s campaign, and she received support from a number of pro-abortion groups, including Emily’s List, NARAL and Planned Parenthood. She also received endorsements from several big-name Democrats, including U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pramila Jayapal, Jamaal Bowman, Katie Porter and Ayanna Pressley.
However, some Democrats publicly and privately expressed concerns that Cisneros’s radical pro-abortion agenda could lose the district for the party if she won the primary, according to Politico.
Very few Americans share her views. A 2021 Marist poll found 58 percent of Americans oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in the U.S. Additionally, 77 percent oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in other countries. A 2016 Harvard/Politico poll found that most voters, including a strong majority of low-income voters, oppose taxpayer-funded abortions.